Sunday, October 11, 2009

Shirring Problems - I Cracked It!!!

I have been trying to get the hang of this shirring thing for a little while now. I upcycled a t-shirt recently doing some shirring, and managed to conduct sewing machine surgery in the process. Ugh! Always upsetting having to take your new machine apart for the first time to untangle all the threads!

Well, the last few days I have been trying to work out how to shir a new pillowcase dress for Maia. Nothing I was doing worked. I had been staring at a thread on the Crafty Mamas forum that had been started last year, of various people trying to work out their shirring problems. There seemed to be a similar link with shirring problems - Brother machines. Well, I like to think that I solved the problem... Well, I solved mine anyway, and since I could not find this solution on the net, I thought I might share what I discovered with others, hoping that I might help another shirring soul out there.

I decided to take a trip to the shop where I bought my Brother Innovis 600. The technician said that the problem is in the tension of the bobbin. I needed to tighten the bobbin tension. So, I asked, "How do you do this?" There is a very, very small screw at the front of the bobbin casing. This needs to be screwed tighter so that the elastic thread catches and is quite tight as it pulls through.

Firstly, take off the needle plate cover & take out the bobbin casing.

Use a very small screwdriver to tighten the screw in the front of the bobbin casing. Mine actually has a bit of paint on the screw. Now, I was very concerned about getting it back again when I was finished. Take note of exactly how many turns you do. Otherwise, you take the lazy way out. I decided to buy a second bobbin casing while I was at the shop as the technician there changed the screw so that it was at the perfect shirring tension. He placed a small dollop of nail polish on it for me so I can differentiate between my 2 bobbin casings (very important). This set me back $34 AU.

Now, test the elastic thread in the bobbin casing to ensure that the tension is quite tight, so that it pulls once it is linked in. Notice how I am pulling the elastic with my fingers.

Hand wind the elastic on to the bobbin without stretching it, as the bobbin casing will do the stretching with the tightened tension. Place the bobbin into the bobbin casing, while the needle plate cover is still off. Link the elastic thread into the casing. This was another problem that I was having, that I eventually figured out on my own. If I threaded the bobbin with the needle plate cover on, the elastic thread was not linking in correctly to the casing and I could not shir. **Note: I actually tried my old bobbin casing once I figured this out. It worked but the shirring was much looser than with my new tightened bobbin casing.

Now, use the needle to pick up the elastic thread.

Place the needle plate cover back on. I didn't bother putting the screw back in, as I was taking it on and off quite a few times. Now, holding the thread and elastic thread with one hand, place your fabric in position and start to shir. Perfect shirring!

I made the shirred pillowcase dress at the top of this post using this tute. The only difference is that I sewed down one side to secure the ends of the shirring, as recommended in this tute. Another 50 cent dress thank you very much! I love it and can't wait to do more shirring.

Well, I hope I have been able to help any needy shirring souls out there, as I feel lucky to have solved my own shirring problem. Happy shirring!!!!!!